MLB announces rule changes, including 3-batter minimum

4 2019 Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief in the ninth inning in game two of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles California.- Ev

Major League Baseball went ahead with its planned rules changes for this season, including the requirement a pitcher must face at least three batters or end the half-inning, unless he is hurt. This rule is created to cut down on pitching changes and speed games up.

There were 2,162 pitching appearances of three batters or less past year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, but 1,471 of them ended with the end of half-inning or a game.

Most importantly, pitchers now must deal with a minimum of 3 batters or complete the half-inning in question before being gotten rid of from the game.

This will, for example, effect the usage of a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen, often brought in to face a left-handed batter before another pitching change. It will go into effect starting March 12 during spring training. The same regulations will apply to postseason rosters.

New roster limit: Teams can now carry 26 players between Opening Day and August 31 - with a maximum of 13 pitchers.

From September 1 to the end of the regular season, active rosters will reduce from 40 to 28, with a maximum of 14 pitchers on those 28-man active rosters.

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- Two-way players: These players may pitch without counting toward the pitching roster limits. "Once a Club designates a qualified "Two-Way Player" that designation will remain in effect, and can not change, for the remainder of that Championship Season and Postseason".

Now the pitcher who might be ideal to retire a certain batter must end the inning or remain in place for at least the next two hitters behind him in the order, which could cause greater headaches. This helps address the status of the Anaheim Angels' starter/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and Cincinnati Reds' reliever/outfielder Michael Lorenzen.

Also, position players can pitch in a game only after the ninth inning unless their team is losing or winning by more than six runs. They can still do so, temporarily expanding their roster to 27.

- Pitchers placed on the injured list can be recalled after 15 days instead of 10. The league has also limited the ability for position players to pitch with that rule.

Umpires will enforce a 20-second timer instead of the previous 30-second rule. The 10-day IL was introduced prior to the 2017 season.

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